As many global enterprises mull how to extract the maximum amount of productivity from their employees’ waking hours—whether in virtual or physical office settings—France is exploring a unique approach to a condensed workweek, albeit with some interesting caveats. The country plans to offer a four-day workweek option specifically to divorced parents sharing custody of their children.

What sets France apart is that it is not just testing the waters within a few companies. Instead, it is extending the perk to all civil servants starting this September, meaning parents with custody arrangements could soon be clocking in for just four days instead of five.

Gabriel Attal, France’s youngest prime minister at 35, proposed this idea as a means to maintain the 35-hour workweek by extending office hours on working days. Initially introduced two years ago for a limited group, Attal now aims to expand this program to the entire French workforce (though specifics on whether hours will be permanently reduced or compensated on other days are still unclear).

Why the fuss? As it turns out, a significant portion of French children—about 12%—shuffle between parents every week. This dynamic can cause disruptions that interfere with a child’s overall quality of life. Thus, a four-day workweek could give parents more time with their little ones while maintaining and growing their careers.

The concept gained traction in France after the introduction of a 35-hour workweek at the turn of the century. Additionally, countries such as Belgium, the U.K., Iceland, and Germany have dabbled in shorter workweeks as well, where these initiatives have largely gained traction from workers who now report reduced burnout and stress.

At Insigniam, we adopted a 4.5-day workweek after employee feedback revealed lower stress levels among those working four days. As highlighted in Fortune, this adjustment, allowing employees to work from home on Thursdays and Fridays, led to improved job satisfaction and health outcomes. Despite clients maintaining a traditional workweek, our firm saw positive impacts on employee sentiment and business performance.

Overall, the shift towards a shorter workweek reflects a growing recognition of the importance of work-life balance and employee well-being in modern workplaces. France’s latest initiative highlights a targeted approach to address specific parental needs while contributing to broader discussions on reimagining work in the 21st century.

  • [cbxwpbookmarkbtn]
Let's Work Together

Ready to start producing
Remarkable Results?

Are you being disrupted or are you disrupting?

Let's Talk